The capital of the United Kingdom has been around for a long time. When the Romans set up camp on what they called Britannia, they had the bright idea of building a city on the banks of the River Thames. And thus Londinium was born. Over the centuries, the city gained many more acres, and lost the extra letters to become London. It never lost its sense of the past, however. Millions flock to the city every year to explore the monuments that time has left behind. Apartment rentals website Oh-London.com presents this sight-seeing tour tracing the city through the ages.
Temple of Mithras (3rd Century BC)
Builders were clearing up the mess from London’s bombing during the Second World War when they stumbled across the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Mithras. The mysterious god was a Persian import that quickly gained a huge sway across the Roman Empire. You can still visit his ancient site of worship in today’s London.
Nearest Tube Station: Barbican
Westminster Abbey (624/960 AD)
The two dates given reflect the mystery around the beginnings of London’s most famous Gothic church. In either case, the Abbey has witnessed the coronations, weddings and funerals of Kings and Queens of England down the centuries. In Poets’ Corner you can visit the graves of great English writers from Chaucer to Charles Dickens.
Nearest Tube Station: Westminster
The Tower of London (1066)
Built by England’s new Norman conquerors, this was first a royal palace and then later a menagerie housing lions and exotic beasts. The Tower’s most famous use was as a prison and place of beheading for enemies of various English rulers. The famous Anne Boleyn was among its victims.
Nearest Tube Station: Tower Hill
Hampton Court Palace (1514)
Built by Henry VIII’s once-trusted advisor Cardinal Wolsey, this red-brick palace is a stunning example of Tudor architecture, dating back to a time when England’s wealth and power was beginning to expand and flourish. The gardens are great for a summer afternoon’s rambling, and Tudor re-enactments are sometimes held here.
Nearest Railway Station: Hampton Court
St. Paul’s Cathedral (1710)
The famous white-domed structure, of the recent Occupy protests was built to replace the old medieval cathedral, destroyed along with much of the city in 1666, during the devastating Great Fire of London.
Tube station: St. Paul’s
Victoria and Albert Museum (1852)
By the 19th century, Britain was a world power. Queen Victoria eventually ruled over an empire covering 10,000 square miles across the globe. In the colloquially-named V&A, you can see particularly impressive art from Asia, from Middle-Eastern carpets to Indian Buddhas.
Nearest Tube Station: South Kensington
The Cenotaph (1919)
Originally created as a tribute to the fallen of The Great War, the cenotaph now stands in memory of those who lost their lives through both World Wars. London suffered heavy Nazi bombing during the so-called Blitz, but the wartime spirit of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is remembered as one of the city’s greatest moments.
Nearest Tube Station: Charing Cross
The Millenium Bridge (2000)
This elegant modern bridge links the financial district, home to London Stock Exchange, with Bankside, where you can find the Tate Modern art gallery. Begun in 1998 under the new Labour government, it reflects the hopeful and ambitious feeling in the country at the dawn of the new century.
Nearest Tube Station: Southwark